Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)
Pursuing the investigations conducted by various authors in 2003 on the potential role of businesses in the social field, Futuribles publishes here an article by François Fatoux and Frédéric Tiberghien on the evaluation of the non-financial aspects of firms. After a brief outline of how the concept of socially responsible investment (SRI) developed, the authors discuss the main agencies concerned with assessing the social performance of firms, in France and in Europe and elsewhere. They describe the methodologies adopted by these bodies, the means used and the ways in which these efforts are gradually making firms and stock markets take account of non-financial criteria in evaluating performance.
In this regard, the growing professionalization of such agencies is clearly a measure of their acknowledged usefulness and this should strengthen their credibility in future. If in addition there is a clean-up of murky accounting practices (such as were revealed by the Enron and WorldCom scandals in 2002), there are good reasons to hope that (good) governance of firms will in the end coincide with the all-too-necessary aims of sustainable development.
Sous l'effet combiné de l'allongement de la durée de la vie et du recul de la fécondité, nos sociétés vieillissent inexorablement. Cependant, paradoxalement, la structure par âge des entreprises françaises ne semble pas refléter les évolutions démographiques générales : elle se trouve plutôt être le résultat de décisions prises en matière de « gestion des âges », i.e. d'utilisation de l'âge comme critère de gestion de l'emploi, sous l'influence de facteurs économiques et sociologiques. Sur la ...
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Cet article présente l'exercice de construction de scénarios réalisé en novembre 2002, lors d'une conférence sur l'avenir des régions européennes organisée par le think-tank allemand Scenario Management International (ScMI). La méthode utilisée est longuement développée. Tout d'abord, trois grandes questions ont servi de cadre à la réflexion : la première portait sur la vitesse de l'intégration européenne, la deuxième sur la survie des cultures régionales, la troisième sur le dynamisme de l'innovation technologique au sein ...
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Le niveau de vie de la France, et plus largement de l'Union européenne, est inférieur d'environ 25 % à celui des États-Unis. Que s'est-il donc passé depuis les « Trente glorieuses », années fastes de rattrapage de l'Europe par rapport aux États-Unis ? Comment expliquer la rupture des évolutions relatives de productivité et de niveau de vie entre l'Union européenne et les États-Unis des années 1990 ? Par les nouvelles technologies ? Quelles réformes mettre en œuvre en France pour que ...
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At the request of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Institute for Research into Development (IRD) brought together a panel experts to investigate what is really happening as regards the growing tendency of bright people to move from South to North (usually first in order to study) and then to form networks. How do these diasporas organize themselves? Does this offset the loss of skills triggered by their departure from their countries of origin and does it make sense to encourage the formation of these networks, for example through appropriate public policies? The responses to these varied questions, as well as others, are presented in a report entitled Diasporas scientifiques (Paris: IRD Éditions, 2003). Rémi Barré, one of the contributors, presents the main conclusions.
Pour Anne-Marie Guillemard, qui vient de sortir son livre L’Âge de l’emploi. Les sociétés à l’épreuve du vieillissement, la faiblesse du taux d’emploi (proportion d’actifs au travail) des personnes de plus de 45 ans n’est pas une fatalité. Dans le contexte de la réforme des retraites, Anne-Marie Guillemard souligne qu’on ne peut repenser la retraite sans questionner les mutations du travail et la réorganisation des temps sociaux, c’est-à-dire la distribution des temps ...
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Every year since 1987, a World Day Against Poverty is held on October 17. But it is important that the collective reaction against poverty should not be limited to this occasion alone. For one thing, fighting poverty means having the wherewithal to do so. But how? And what are the prerequisites?
The future studies approach may have a useful contribution to make in this regard. This would help to prevent the goals set by the European Council in 2000 -to eliminate poverty by 2010- from being mere pious hopes.
Identifying the likely trends in extreme poverty in Europe may indeed help us to perceive how much room there is for manoeuvre and the means of altering those trends. Even more, to quote Jean-Pïerre Dupuy, this approach may well enable us to see the worst situations as well as revealing "what is of enormous value".
In this article, Saphia Richou and Xavier Godinot discuss a joint initiative of ATD Quart Monde and Futuribles to examine the prospects for extreme poverty in Europe between now and 2015. The authors describe the methods used and the scenarios which were developed. Clearly this exploratory approach cannot avoid a discussion of what would be desirable, since that was what motivated the exercise in the first place. The article therefore examines the means and the conditions needed to achieve a scenario with the evocative title: "poverty made illegal".
It has to be acknowledged that the many plans intended to rescue Africa from underdevelopment, often surrounded by controversies, have so far met with failure. NEPAD (New Partnership for African Development), drawn up on the basis of proposals made by African leaders and adopted by the new "African union" in Durban in July 2002, hopes to be the means henceforth of reversing the trend and bringing about growth for the African continent.
Christel Alvergne and Daniel Latouche present here the content of this plan, which aims basically to stimulate a new impetus of development by relying on substantial investments in infrastructure (transport, energy, clean water supply, drainage, telecommunications) in the hope that these will also have a strong multiplier effect.
The authors describe the projects planned under NEPAD and set out the benefits which these may generate for the whole of Africa. But they also stress that the infrastructure programmes must be conducted within the framework of a general land-use planning policy, which for the moment does not exist. According to the authors, NEPAD has allowed Africa to rediscover its land. But the continent still lacks a project to make the most of this resource, in particular one based on genuine territorial dynamics.
Although she is cautious about the viability of using changes in gross domestic product as an indicator, Céline Laisney presents an overview of both past and future changes in GDP in the main regions of the world. Drawing on the work of specialist agencies such as OECD and the World Bank, she shows that the period of rapid economic growth from the 1950s to the 1970s was more the exception than the rule. In future we must therefore expect slower rates of growth, more like those of the 1950s, especially in France and in Europe generally.
Véronique Lamblin examines here how the World Bank arrives at its long-term forecasts. She first describes the variables selected (working population, rates of savings and investment, productivity), then outlines the Bank's economic outlooks for each major region of the world from now until 2015, although she stresses that these involve a high level of uncertainty.
In 1993, in a report to the French Senate on the economic and fiscal implications of the relocation abroad of manufacturing and services (L'Incidence économique et fiscale des délocalisations hors du territoire national des activités industrielles et de service. Paris: Senate, June 1993), Jean Arthuis expressed his concern about the impact of relocations on employment. His assessment then was deeply worrying: in 15 years, the domestic workforce in the sectors most affected by this trend (electronics, clothing and textiles, shoes) had been more than halved.
At the time, the report was presented by Arthuis in this journal ("Les délocalisations contre l'emploi. La sombre analyse du rapport Arthuis", Futuribles, n°181, November 1993) and he intended to shock ("the house is on fire", he wrote then). It proved to be prophetic in that he predicted the coming of the "second generation" of relocations that would affect services and intangibles.
Now indeed, 10 years later, the headlines of the European press continue to be full of news of closures of industrial plants while more and more foreign businesses are established in China, India or Eastern Europe, in high value-added sectors and research as well as basic manufacturing.
In this article, Jean Arthuis makes a gloomy assessment of the last 10 years: "the numbers of relocations have not stopped growing... Worse still, they have increased." He adds, "all sectors of the economy are now affected". Unlike those who like to think that this phenomenon is simply marginal, he argues that it is indeed a major trend but that something can be done to offset it. In his view, the solutions lie in reducing social security contributions and tax rates, in better economic coordination at European level, or in reforms of governance. In addition, he makes proposals for practical measures such as the creation of a "social" value-added tax and ecological taxation.
In an analysis of the reasons for the low rate of economic growth in France, Jacques Bely emphasizes here how unhelpful it is to look for answers in contrasting the public and private sectors. In his view, an increase in the rate of economic growth will be achieved not by privatising certain public services but by improving their efficiency. Bely argues that the failure of public services to take account of this "efficiency factor" leads to a need for even greater productivity on the part of the market and competitive sector, thereby impairing the contribution of the latter to fostering growth. It is therefore essential for the French public services to acknowledge this efficiency dimension and take their inspiration from businesses in making organizational changes that will provide greater customer satisfaction at lower costs. This is one of the keys to reviving French economic growth, says Bely, and he offers some concrete proposals at the end of the article.
Voici une compilation très complète d'articles traitant de la Russie sous ses angles historique, démographique, politique, social et économique. Les difficultés sont nombreuses auxquelles doit faire face le plus grand pays du monde (17 millions de km2) : pauvreté (le produit national brut par habitant y est 10 fois plus faible qu'en Europe occidentale), importance du secteur informel, insécurité, crise identitaire suite à la libéralisation de l'économie et des mœurs, nostalgie et fatalisme ambiants, alcoolisme endémique, ravages écologiques ...
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In the midst of the "war against terrorism" launched by the US government, the editor of Foreign Policy rightly reminds us that there are other "wars", not waged by one state against another; these are sometimes even more destructive and governments have great difficulty in gaining the upper hand. These wars are made much worse by certain new features of globalisation and, according to Moisés Naím, they are likely to be long-lasting and to become even more serious if governments do not realize that these problems call for major strategic reforms.
The wars in question are against drug-trafficking, the illegal arms trade, breaches of intellectual property, trafficking of human beings and money-laundering.
These problems have no regard for geography or sovereignty, and they bring governments into conflict with networks based solely on market forces. In many ways, Naím argues, these struggles are structuring the world as much as the tensions between nation-states did in the past. In addition, they raise questions about the dominant ideas and institutions of nation-states and they highlight the damaging side-effects of untrammelled market forces.
In the June 2003 issue of Futuribles we published an article by Michel Albert arguing that business could have a key role in promoting sustainable development. Nicole Notat has a similar viewpoint here, showing how the idea of the social responsibility of firms (SRF) has developed, driven by the growing awareness of the social and environmental risks associated with their activities and by a groundswell of opinion among both intergovernmental organizations and civil society.
Mme Notat describes the forms that reactions to these new demands can take, including ethical financing and socially responsible investments, or where necessary outright philanthropic actions. Better still, she stresses that firms can make a real contribution through preventive or proactive strategies that integrate social and environmental concerns in their management.
At the same time, Nicole Notat argues that, because there is no normative statement of what the SRF involves, it is essential to ensure that efforts conducted under this label are in fact genuine. Hence the creation of agencies like the one she heads, Vigeo, which tries to ensure the good faith and good practice on the part of firms.
For her, in any case, the issue is extremely important and the investment in it will be rewarded. A firm that os truly socially responsible has every likelihood of also being more competitive in the short term and, a fortiori, in the long term too.
The French government's plan to reform pensions - although useful - is based ultimately on the assumption that the country will return rapidly (by 2010 or 2020) to full employment, if not of general labour shortage. The reform therefore relies partly on making people work longer (and therefore pay more contributions) in order to qualify for a full pension, and partly on a sharp fall in the costs arising from unemployment, so that the money thereby released could be used to finance pensions.
All of this is based on a highly interventionist scenario developed by a special advisory council on pensions which reported in December 2001 at the end of three years of exceptional economic growth and job creation.
Unfortunately, as we foresaw at Futuribles, the economic growth fizzled out, unemployment rose again and underemployment became widespread (though not unavoidable), which seriously compromises a reform plan that threatens simply to reduce the standard of living of pensioners and widen the gap between rich and poor.
Les auteurs estiment qu'à cotisations inchangées, le vieillissement est un facteur de développement : l'allongement de la durée d'inactivité incitant à une épargne plus abondante, il en résulte que le vieillissement des générations actuelles est aussi favorable aux générations futures.
L'économie chinoise, tant en raison de ses ressources, de la taille de son marché que de ses importants taux de croissance (8 % pour l'année 2002 malgré le SRAS, Syndrôme Respiratoire Aigu Sévère), semble appelée à devenir prochainement un centre économique majeur de la planète. Au vu des importantes réformes déjà entreprises par les autorités pour se conformer aux réglementations de l'OMC (organisation mondiale du commerce) et de sa stabilisation politique, la Chine offre des conditions d'échange ...
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Ce chapitre est extrait du Rapport Vigie 2016 de Futuribles International, qui propose un panorama structuré des connaissances et des incertitudes des experts que l'association a mobilisés pour explorer les évolutions des 15 à 35 prochaines années sur 11 thématiques.